Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman- Book Review

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                       Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Book Review

Rating- 5/5

A doctor whom I befriended last month gave me this book. I went to him for my younger sister’s medication and perchance we got in on the topic of books. Well, I have the experience of meeting both kinds of doctor, the taciturn and the loquacious, and I found the later better.

During the conversation, he asked a great many questions, like have I read this or that writer/book, what do I prefer to read and also that how many books I read per week etc. After ten minutes, I got that he is a serious reader and also that his wife often threatens him to throw out his books scattered here and there.

He told me about this book and said, “it’s a life-changing book.”

I said, “I fear this phrase, ‘life-changing book and all’. Once, one of my friends who used to teach Physics in Akash Institute, gave me a book saying the same thing. And I was so frustrated after reading that that I gave 0.5/5 rating and wrote a blatantly negative review.”

“Which book was that?”

“The Secret by Rhonda Byrne”

He laughed.

“No, I won’t give you any pseudo-literature. It will be a genuine thing. Bring any good book for me when you come next time.”

After the treatment and medicines, I came home and didn’t give much thought of what he said. I forgot.

After a week, when I went there again, the first thing he asked was,

“Have you brought the books?”

“Sir, I forgot. I thought you were just… talking. Ok, I promise I will bring next time.”

“I am serious and I was serious that day also. I think you’re not that serious with books as you pretended that day. Here’s is your book.”

He had brought the book for me. I took the book in hand.

“Read this. It will tell you many things about your mind and might change the way you think and take decisions. Read this man.”

I was overwhelmed. Next day, I gave him two books, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and I said,

“Sir, either you would adore it or abhor it, but can’t ignore it, if you find yourself able to finish these two.”

“But you will only adore what I have given you.”

I smiled.

So, it seems a nice friendship that I started this year by swapping books.

It took me 15 days to finish. The book is divided in 5 parts. Part 1, Part 3, and Part 5 are smooth read while Part 2 and Part 4 are somewhat tedious. See, Kahneman played psychology well.

It’s not a self-help material. It’s pure psychology, an authoritative work by the genius of his field. It talks about our thought process and how we make decisions. This process is dependent on two systems of our mind- System 1 and System 2. These are fictional names given by the writer. System 1 is our intuition that thinks very fast while System 2 is logical and computative that is often lazy and slow.

These two systems are the main premises upon which a huge psychological discourse is presented. There are innumerable examples of individuals, groups, and institutions showing how they made good or bad decisions.

This book strengthened some of my thoughts that I had cherished for long times, like no one is unbiased and we humans are mostly emotional and impulsive species.

System 1 jumps on conclusions guided by the associative memory, but one can make System 1 more accurate by a long time practice in certain field. That’s how experts of various subjects make decisions. But then, one can never be flawless, one can only be near accurate or less faulty.

The gist is that, System 1 and System 2, both are important. It’s always good to make decisions by calculating every aspect and being logical, but checking the intuitions every time can make your life hell.

And yes, writing style could be better, but its contents are so magnificent that it doesn’t matter.

Thank you.

~Ravi

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